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April 10, 2017
Governor announces grant for outdoor classroom in Athens

MONTGOMERY— Students in Limestone County will soon have a new space to learn about the outdoors with the help of a $76,307 Appalachian Regional Commission grant announced by Gov. Robert Bentley.

The Athens-Limestone Public Library will use the grant to help convert an unused piece of land adjacent to the library into an outdoor education facility. Students from area schools and home school groups will use the site to teach the Alabama Wildlife Federation’s Outdoor Classroom curriculum and for activities designed to teach science, technology and math concepts.

“Children can learn a lot by exploring and enjoying the outdoors, and this outdoor education facility will help students in Limestone County do just that,” Bentley said. “I am pleased that ARC funds are available to help the Athens-Limestone Public Library complete this project and add a new outdoor learning space.”

The project will install a paved walkway, fencing, benches, landscaping and other features to the site. The outdoor facility will be compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs administers the ARC program in Alabama. Thirty-seven counties in Alabama are part of the ARC region and eligible for funds which could be cut under current federal budget proposals.

"ARC programs have through the years have tremendously impacted so many Alabama communities and regions in the way of infrastructure improvements, education and economic opportunities,” ADECA Director Jim Byard Jr. said. "I am proud of ADECA’s partnership with ARC and the benefits this program is making in Athens and has made to numerous other Alabama communities during the last 50 years."

ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation. During a period of October 2015 to January 2017, ARC has funded 64 projects in Alabama totaling $11.2 million and resulted in 900 jobs and training or educating 14,000 students or workers for new or advancement jobs.

ADECA manages a range of programs that support law enforcement, economic development, recreation, energy conservation and water resource management.

Bentley notified Paula Laurita, the library’s executive director, that the grant had been approved.

Contact: Mike Presley or Jennifer Ardis Elmore

For more information, visit:  http://www.adeca.alabama.gov/